Tech Co-op Grants Program

Tech Co-op Grants Program

Need talent? Get up to $20,000 in funding to hire co-op students through the Tech Co-op Grants Program.

About the program

Tech Co-op Grants Program

Due to high demand, our waitlist has reached capacity and we are no longer processing new BC Tech Co-op Grant applications. We do have other funding opportunities available. If you are specifically looking to hire a student, check out the Digital Skills for Youth Program. To be notified when applications open for our programs, sign up here.

Need talent? Get up to $20,000 per year in funding to hire co-op students through the Tech Co-op Grants Program. Whether you’re a technology-based company looking to grow or a non-tech organization looking to grow your innovation footprint, our program could be right for you. 

Each employer is eligible to receive a maximum of four grants each per program year (May 1 to April 30) valued at up to $5,000 (a total value of $20,000), to recruit and train between one to four distinct co-op students. The employer is accountable for the remainder of the student’s salary during the co-op term.

Program eligibility

  • Be a B.C.-based business.
  • Have less than 500 employees on payroll.
  • Be a tech company or tech non-profit hiring for any role.
  • Be a non-tech company, organization or non-profit hiring for a tech role (A tech role is defined as a role primarily related to developing tech or providing tech support).
  • Be hiring a student for a co-op work term. If you’ve hired a student for a co-op work term in the last 5 years, then you must hire a first-time co-op student.

What is a co-op work term?

A co-op work term is an opportunity for post-secondary students to gain work experience while still in school. Companies looking for fresh, eager-to-learn talent hire students on temporary contracts. Students spend the term working for the company and get academic credit for it. Co-op students are typically hired for 4 or 8 months, covering 1 or 2 terms.

Co-op hiring is coordinated through the post-secondary institutions. To be eligible for a grant, the student must be hired through an accredited co-op program in B.C.

What’s a tech role?

Two things count as a tech role:

1. A role in a tech company
2. A role that is primarily related to developing tech or providing tech support. Some examples include:

  • 3D programming
  • iOS development
  • computing science
  • development of web applications (that run online, not websites)
  • tech support

What is the definition of a first-time co-op student?

This means the student has never completed a co-op work term with an accredited co-op program in B.C. The student needs to be part of an accredited co-op program and be hired through this program.

Does it matter which university or college my student is from?

Yes. In order to be eligible to receive a grant, the student must be enrolled in an accredited co-op program in B.C. You must also hire the student through the co-op program.

Does it matter if I've hired a co-op student in the past?

If it has been less than five years since your company has hired a co-op student then you must hire a student on their first co-op placement in order to be eligible for a Tech Co-op Grant.

How long does it take to process an application?

A typical application is processed within 15 business days. You will then be notified whether you have received conditional approval or have been declined.

Are there any timing considerations?

Co-op work terms start at three different times during the year. We suggest posting a few months ahead of when the co-op term you are hiring for begins.

  • Spring (Jan – Apr)
  • Summer (May – Aug)
  • Winter (Sep – Dec)

Can I apply to receive a grant before I hire a student?

Yes! Please note, the usual eligibility requirements concerning student roles for work placements still stand.

Can I apply for a grant after the work term has ended?

Yes! This another great benefit of our program. You have until March 15th, 2020 to apply for a co-op term that took place in Summer 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Summer 2019, Fall 2019, or Spring 2020.
PLEASE NOTE: Any placement completed before May 1st, 2018 is not eligible for retroactive approval.

I have hired a student for an 8-month co-op contract, is my company eligible to receive a grant?

Yes. In fact, you are eligible to receive two grants – one for each semester of the 8-month contract. However, you will be required to apply twice. In your second application, please make note that the student is in a continuing role on an 8-month contract.

What do I need to do once I’ve received grant approval?

In order to receive the grant funds, employers will need to have done three key things:

  • 1. An employer must hire a student from an accredited co-op program. One of two conditions must be met to satisfy this requirement. Either:
    • a. The student has never completed a co-op term in an accredited program OR
    • b. The company is hiring a co-op student for the first time in five or more years.
  • 2. Employers need to confirm from which accredited co-op program the student was hired. The employer will be asked for confirmation after receiving conditional approval.
  • 3. Employers are required to provide their students with the Student Consent Form to sign. By signing this form, the student gives consent for their employer to share their name and email address with Innovate BC and for Innovate BC to cite their name when corresponding with their co-op department.
  • 4. Employers are required to fill out a survey indicating their satisfaction with the program. Survey responses will not impact the company’s eligibility for future grants. Employer satisfaction surveys are compulsory. Students will also be asked to fill out a satisfaction survey; however, student response is optional.

When will I receive my grant cheque?

Grant cheques will be mailed at the end of the student’s co-op term. Typically, cheques arrive in the 4th or 5th month following the start of the co-op term.

For example, a Fall 2018 (Sep – Dec) grant cheque will be mailed in December or January.



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